Lattice-Boltzmann simulation of two-phase flow in porous media

C. Pan, M. Hilpert, C. T. Miller

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295 Scopus citations


We simulate two-fluid-phase flow at the pore scale using a lattice Boltzmann (LB) approach. Using a parallel processing version of the Shan-Chen model that we developed, we simulate a set of ideal two-fluid systems and a model two-fluid-phase porous medium system comprised of a synthetic packing with a relatively uniform distribution of spheres. We use the set of ideal two-phase systems to validate the approach and provide parameter information, which we then use to simulate a sphere-pack system. The sphere-pack system is designed to mimic laboratory experiments conducted to evaluate the hysteretic capillary pressure saturation relation for a system consisting of water, tetrachloroethylene, and a glass bead porous medium. Good agreement is achieved between the measured hysteretic capillary pressure saturation relations and the LB simulations when comparing entry pressure, displacement slopes, irreducible saturation, and residual entrapment. Our results further show that while qualitatively similar results are obtained when comparing systems consisting of 1200 spheres and 150 spheres, there is a significant difference between these two levels, suggesting a lower bound on the size of a representative elementary volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)W015011-W0150114
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Lattice-Boltzmann
  • Multiphase flow
  • Two-phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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